ルネサス再建 政府主導で甘え断つ改革を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 16, 2013)
Ailing chipmaker Renesas must reform, achieve self-reliance
ルネサス再建 政府主導で甘え断つ改革を(1月15日付・読売社説)

Even if a company is indispensable to Japan's manufacturing industry, it will face difficulty reconstructuring itself under the government's initiative. Such a company needs to reform its management in a way that does not depend on government support.

The Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), a state-backed investment fund, has decided to buy about 70 percent of shares in Renesas Electronics Corp., a major but financially troubled chipmaker, and put the company under its umbrella. Eight companies including Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. will hold a combined 6 percent of shares in the chipmaker.

With total public and private investment amounting up to 200 billion yen, a rare "hinomaru coalition" support system has been established.

Renesas was founded by Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and NEC Corp., and is the world's largest maker of microcontroller chips, with a share of about 30 percent in the global market. The product controls the functions of motors in automobiles and home appliances.

The Great East Japan Earthquake caused major damage to Renesas' main factory. Many domestic companies were forced to halt production because they were unable to procure microcontrollers.


Inefficient management

This shows manufacturers are largely dependent on Renesas. However, Renesas has chalked up losses for seven consecutive years--including a period under one of its predecessors--and the company is expected to register a massive deficit this fiscal year.

The poor business performances seem to be caused by inefficient management under a motley collection of different companies and discount sales of a variety of products, kept in small volumes, to cater to the requests of clients.

A U.S. investment fund once offered to provide financial assistance. But if Renesas were placed under the umbrella of a foreign firm, it may result in an outflow of technology abroad or disruptions in the procurement of parts by domestic companies.

The public and private sectors share a sense of crisis over Renesas because it is a key company in the manufacturing field. Therefore, they took action to counter the foreign fund's buyout offensive.

The INCJ, which has taken over the management of Renesas, said it would help the company "build up a strong constitution capable of competing globally."

But even if the company boasts of high-level technology, optimism on its future outlook may not be warranted.

The government bears a grave responsibility in extending assistance to a private company by injecting a huge amount of public funds. The government must accelerate its efforts to make the company profitable.


Don't sell products cheaply

If client companies that have become major shareholders continue to ask Renesas to develop and produce microcontrollers cheaply, it will be difficult for the company to operate in the black. We believe it is necessary for the company to expand its sales channels overseas.

While additional restructuring measures, including job cuts, should proceed, efforts should be made for the company to invest vigorously in growing fields.

Elpida Memory Inc., another major chipmaker in which the government injected public funds, went bankrupt about three years after the assistance was extended. A repetition of this failure is unacceptable.

The administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attaches importance to strengthening the nation's industrial competitiveness and has proposed the INCJ be used for this purpose. It also has called for the creation of a new fund to support companies so they can expand their overseas businesses. However, the point is not to launch a number of funds, but to ensure immediate tangible achievements.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Jan. 15, 2013)
(2013年1月15日00時16分  読売新聞)

0 件のコメント: